Revd Timothy Charles Pickles BSc. Soc. Sci, PGCE, Chartered FCIPD, RIMA
Although a Yorkshireman, Tim Pickles had a lifelong love of the Lake District with a home in Keswick for most of his adult life. His passion for the fells was reflected not only in his walking and climbing expertise but also in his writings about the area. Throughout his varied career – from youth social work to management consultancy and Interfaith ministry – he was also equally passionate about supporting the LGBTI community.
Tim, who died suddenly but peacefully in Thailand where he and his husband spent the winter months, was born in 1952 in Ilkley, Yorkshire, to Charles, a solicitor, and May, a keen local historian. It was family caravanning holidays, with his younger sister, Helen, to the Lake District that instilled his love of the area – despite the fact these holidays were frequently wet, cold and required farmers’ tractors to rescue the caravan from muddy fields.
Like his father, Tim joined the Fell and Rock Climbing Club as a young man becoming an active and valued member, including Vice President from 2005 to 2007, and co-editing their well-regarded guide book ‘The Lakeland Fells’. Fit and active, he was not only an accomplished fell-walker and rock-climber – completing the Munros in 1992 when just 40 – but also enjoyed canoeing, ski-touring, cycling and – perhaps surprisingly – croquet.
But his interests were not just confined to outdoors activities. He loved travelling and exploring, theatre and film – was part of the Keswick Street Players, a volunteer at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake and a member of the Keswick Film Club – and regularly attended a book club. His book collection demonstrates his passion for antiquarian books and maps. Tim was also a Quaker for most of his adult life, and regularly attended the Keswick Meeting House.
After graduating from Bristol University with an honours degree in geography and a PGCE certificate, he began work as a teacher at his former Ilkley school, Ghyll Royd, later becoming an associate lecturer at Bristol School of Education. From 1974 to 1979 he co-ordinated youth social work activities with a Bristol-based organisation, Venture 12, before moving to Newcastle as Director and Head of Programmes with North East Work Trust. In 1985 he moved to Glasgow as youth policy consultant for Save the Children before, in 1989, making a career change and joining Framework, a UK management consultancy group where he specialised in training and organisational development. From here, he was invited to become Communities Best Practice Director at Sift, a pioneering tech company based in Bristol, and founded both online communities trainingzone.co.uk a
nd hrzone.co.uk whilst there.
Following a decision in 2005 to work less, Tim retrained as an Interfaith Minister and practised as a spiritual counsellor with the Sacred Space Foundation. He also trained as a shiatsu therapist in Bangkok, Thailand. He recently became a Professional Practice Adviser to the Interfaith Ministers Association and also Chair and Director of Male Journey Ltd, a charity dedicated to providing ‘Rites of Passage’ for men. Tim provided services to various communities as an ordained minister, and as a mentor and teacher. In between, he loved writing opinion pieces, reflections, blogs and contributing to books. Tim described his recent path as one of contemplative mysticism, balancing action with humanity in the community with the stillness of personal contemplation.
For over 40 years Tim was active in addressing the impact of discrimination on the LGBTI community and supporting individuals within it. While working in Glasgow he met his first long-term partner, Alan Brown, the two enjoying a 15-year partnership and dividing their time between Lenzie, near Glasgow, and Keswick. They maintained their friendship after it ended in 2002. Tim began to travel more, particularly to Thailand where he met Sittichai Pumpo, or Aod as he is known to friends, in 2011. Aod moved to Keswick in 2013 and in May the following year, Tim and Aod were married, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married in a Quaker Meeting House in the UK. The Marriage Act had received Royal Assent in England only weeks before. Tim and Aod bought a house in Sam Kamphaeng near Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and had spent several months there each winter. It was here that Tim died, unexpectedly but peacefully. He was given a Thai Buddhist funeral where Aod was joined by his sister, Helen, and close friends Penny, Alan and Stephen. Tim’s ashes will be brought back to St Olaf’s church in Wasdale to be scattered alongside those of his parents.
A celebration of Tim’s life will be held on 27th April in Keswick. May Tim’s light and love continue to touch all those who knew him.
Tim Pickles was born on 4th November 1952 in Ilkley, Yorkshire. He died on 1st February 2018 of a heart condition, aged 65.